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Accordion of 21-st century

Richard Galliano - French touch

Walshe Essential Guide to Accordion and Harmonica Events

«Harmonica forever!»

Modest Mussorgsky «Pictures at an Exhibition»

«Skomorokhi»: Music of the 20'th Century

Richard Galliano - 15 Titres Originaux

Pietro Frosini - Mariposita (Bolero)

Eugeny Derbenko - Cabman

Melodies Which Are Always With You

Concert musette for accordion

Richard Galliano quartet «New Musette»

Astor Piazzolla - Soundtracks

Boris Kovac and Ladaaba Orchestra «Ballads at the End of Time», «La Danza Apocalypsa Balcanica»

Yury Kazakov «The portrait of the great Bayanist»

A Gotan Project DJ set Espiracion

Accordion in Jazz

Astor Piazzolla - Concerto para Quinteto

Accordion in concert - Part I

Accordion Reader Trilogy

L. Desyatnikov - Tracing Astor

Russian music of the 19 - 20-th centuries

Igor Tsvetkov - Two Pieces for Russian Folk Orchestra

Popular Latin American tunes for chromatic or piano accordion

Terem-Quartet meets friends

Richard Galliano - Viaggio

Richard Galliano & Michel Portal – Concerts

Valery Kovtun - «Tango»

Richard Galliano – New York Tango

Friedrich Lips - Pictures at an Exhibition

Astor Piazzolla - Fugata

Dmitry Manchuk & Miroslav Leliukh - Musical Fantasy

Art Van Damme - Deep Purple

Richard Galliano - Fou Rire

George Gershwin - Rhapsody in Blue (for piano and accordion orchestra)

Andrew Petrov - Marathon in the Fall

Luciano Fancelli - Acquarelli Cubani

Happy Skvett - Kulturprisen

M. Kazhlaev - Scerzo

Michael van Delft - Angel Rocks a Stone Away

Jacques Reuaux, Claude Francois - My Way - Great Frank Sinatra song arranged for accordion orchestra - Parts

Richard Galliano - Tango pour Claude

''Resurrecion'' tango-quartet - Obsessed by the Sun

Richard Galliano - La Valse a Margaux

Bogdan Precz - Fusion

Jazz Accordion Book - Vol. I

Jazz Theory And Improvisation Studies for Accordion

Che, bandoneon - 10 essential tango arrangements - Vol. 1

Astor Piazzolla - Tangus Dei

Richard Galliano - Opale Concerto - Score

Accordion orchestra of 3-d municipal music school (Kishinev, Moldova)

Lithuanian Accordion Quintet "Concertino" (video live concert)

Pablo Ziegler - Bajo Cero

Pavel Smirov Orchestra - Accordion virtuosos from St. Petersburg

Albin Repnikov - Concerto ¹3 for accordion, chamber orchestra and percussions - Score

Pavel Smirov Orchestra - My Saint Petersburg

M. Blanter - In The Gardens

Astor Piazzolla - Yo Soy Maria

Lithuanian Accordion Quintet «Concertino» - Compositions from the repertoire of the ensemble - Vol. 2

B. Martjanov - Moldova Fantasy

«Milonga» Instrumental Trio – Compositions from the repertoire of the ensemble - Vol. 2

«Milonga» Instrumental Trio – Compositions from the repertoire of the ensemble - Vol. 1

«Milonga» Instrumental Trio – Compositions from the repertoire of the ensemble - Vol. 3

Jacques Reuaux, Claude Francois - My Way - Great Frank Sinatra song arranged for accordion orchestra - Score

Anatoly Lyadov - Musical Snuffbox

Yu. Peshkov - Black Eyes - Russian romance arranged as a concert piece

Charlie Shavers - Breeze in a Waste

Christine Boll – Partita Piccola

Teddy Randazzo, Bobby Weinstein - Going Out of My Head - Great Frank Sinatra song arranged for accordion orchestra - Score and Parts

Victor Vlasov - Bossa Nova

Pietro Frosini - Carnival of Venice

Victor Vlasov - I Like this Rhythm

Thomas Fundora & Morris Albert - Feelings

Mikis Theodorakis - Quarter of Angels

George Hammel - Pantoufle de Vair (concert polka for accordion)

Volodymyr Zubytsky - Omaggio ad Astor Piazzolla

In the Footlights

The Beatles Potpourri

Jacob Gade - Tango Jalousie

Lasse Pihlajamaa - Harmonikkasävellyksiä

Eddy Flecijn – Capriccio

Pascual Marquina - Spanish Gipsy Dance

Popular Waltzes

Libertango tango hits

Moon Serenade

History of Musicals

Astor Piazzolla – 10 tangos

From Bach till Offenbach

Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart - Blue Moon

Beny Rehmann - Schiffsfeger-Polka

Francisco Canaro - Tango

Gerhard Winkler - Toulouse

Albert Vossen - Merry-go-round

Gerhard Winkler - Serenade Napolitano

Les Rid - The Last Waltz

Yann Tiersen - Le Moulin

Yann Tiersen - Naomi

Bert Kaempfert - Strangers in The Night

Luiz Bonfa - Manha de Carnival

Cajun of Luisiana State (for banjo and accordions)

George Boulanger - Da Capo

Eugene Derbenko - Rythm of Time

I. Panitski - Snowball Tree

A. Murena and J. Colombo - Indifference

Hubert Giraud - Sous le Ciel de Paris

Toto Cutugno - Soli

Fermo Marchetti - Fascination

Victor Vlasov - Boogie-Woogie

J McHugh - Black Birds (Black spiritual arranged for accordion)

S. Scott - Jungle

Tikhon Khrennikov - Moscow Windows (jazz song arranged for accordion duo)

Paul Norrback - Happy Moments

Charlie Chaplin - Limelight (waltz arranged for accordion)

Victor Vlasov - Silent Films

Victor Vlasov - Good Afternoon

Victor Vlasov - Cartoon

20 Tiny Fingers - English folk song

A. Joys - Autumn Dream

Jazz-Legato - Lerov Andersson (for accordion duo)

Vladimir Popolzin - In The Saloon

S. Scott - Ballade

Victor Vlasov – Jazz Miniatures

Victor Vlasov - Disco (from Jazz Miniatures Book)

Victor Vlasov - Let us Swing (from Jazz Miniatures Book)

Victor Vlasov - Siamese (from Jazz Miniatures Book)

Victor Vlasov - This Rythm (from Jazz Miniatures Book)

Victor Vlasov - Step (from Jazz Miniatures Book)

Unto Jutila - French Visit

Renzo Ruggieri - Carnevale

Jimmy Giordanengo - La Huette

Albert Vossen - Fliegende Blatter

Vittorio Monti - Czardas

Victor Vlasov - Mood (for solo accordion)

Victor Vlasov - Syncopes

Unto Jutila - Samba

Pietro Frosini - Jolly Caballero

Karl Noack - Parade of Dwarves (for ensemble or orchestra)

Valery Kovtun - Brilliant Waltz (for solo accordion)

Pintin Castellanos - La Punalada

Finish Polka

Anne Dudley - Jeeves and Wooster

Astor Piazzolla - Four Seasons in Buenos Aires - Score

Astor Piazzolla - Four Seasons in Buenos Aires - Parts

Luciano Fancelli - 10 km. al Finestrino

Luciano Fancelli - Pupazzetti

Georgy Mushel - Toccata

Albin Repnikov - Capriccio

Paolo Pizzigoni - Light and Shadow

Grigoras Dinicu - Hora Stacatto

Eduardo di Capua - O Sole Mio!

Ernesto Lecuona - Malaguena from «Andalucia» Suite

Andre Astier - Grande Valse De Concert

Andre Astier - Divertissement

Andre Astier - Fantaisie En Mi Mineur

Andre Astier, Marcel Azzola - Systeme «A»

Andre Astier, Maurice Larcange - Accordeon Steeple

Andre Astier, Yvette Horner - Polka Satellite

Volodymyr Zubytsky - Ti Amo, Pesaro

Joaquin Rodrigo - Concierto de Aranjuez, Adagio

Antonio Vivaldi - Concerto f-moll from The Four Seasons

Arnstein Johansen - Cornelli (polka)

Medard Ferrero - Averse

Polka Favorites

Latin Favorites

Joey Miskulin - Accordion Styles and Techniques (DVD)

Paris Musette - Freddy Balta and his Accordion

Teach Yourself To Play Accordion

Waltz Favorites

Metodo Per Fisarmonica (Accordion)

Latin American Dances

Richard Galliano - Opale Concerto - Parts

Vladimir Chernikov - Lonely Harmonica - Yablochko

Niccolo Paganini - Caprice No. 24 in A minor

Andrew Lloyd Webber - Memory

John A. Dallas - Helen Waltz

Maurice Larcange & Michel Mercier - Javaccordeon

Franck Angelis - Valse du Cloun

Franck Angelis - Impasse

Ole Schmidt - Toccata no. 1

Astor Piazzolla - Contrabajissimo - Score

Yann Tiersen - La Noyee

Jack Fina - Bumblebee Boogie

Vl. Zolotarev - Conteplating The Dionisian Frescoes of St. Ferapontov Monastery

Heitor Villa-Lobos - Dance of The White Indian

Filippo Marino - Cristina

Tony Murena & Louis Peguri - Joyeux Vagabond

Pietro Frosini - Spic and Span

Hans Brehme - Divertimento in F

Pietro Frosini - Accordion Jitters

Astor Piazzolla - Concerto Aconcagua for bandoneon, chamber orchestra and percussions - Score

Oscar Peterson - Laurentide Waltz (from The “Canadiana” suite)

Con Conrad & Herb Magidson - Midnight in Paris (bolero)

Samuel Barber - Adagio from String Quartet No. 1

Pietro Frosini - Love Smiles

Albin Repnikov - Concertino

Victor Vlasov - The Fest In Moldavanka

Art Van Damme - Boogie-Woogie

Albert Vossen - Brusseles Laces

Yann Tiersen - Les Quatre Pieces

Frank Marocco - Appassionato

Che, bandoneon - 10 essential tango arrangements - Vol. 2

Astor Piazzolla - Cite Tango

Astor Piazzolla - Meditango

Astor Piazzolla - Un dia de paz

Astor Piazzolla - Libertango

Astor Piazzolla - Tres Tangos

Astor Piazzolla - Ave Maria

Astor Piazzolla - Concierto de Nacar - Score

Astor Piazzolla - Tangata del Alba

Accordion in Concert - Part II

Astor Piazzolla - Double Concerto - Score

Argentinian Tango and Folk Tunes for Accordion: 36 Traditional Pieces

Jean Francaix - Concerto for accordion and orchestra

Isang Yun - Concertino for accordion and string quartet

Darius Milhaud - Suite Anglaise

Astor Piazzolla - Adios Nonino for accordion orchestra and piano

Klezmer and Sephardic Tunes

Astor Piazzolla - Concerto Aconcagua for bandoneon, chamber orchestra and percussions - Parts

Astor Piazzolla - Cuatro Estaciones Portenas - Score

Astor Piazzolla - Cuatro Estaciones Portenas - Parts

Carlos Gardel - Soledad y Volver - Score

Carlos Gardel - Soledad y Volver - Parts

Angel Villoldo - El Choclo

Mariano Mores - Tanguera

Julian Plaza - Nocturna

Hector Stamponi - Un Momento

Julio Pane - Un vals para Martita

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Five Questions: Bradley Jaye Williams
Jun., 11, 2008
Hang on tight — it’s another edition of “Five Questions”, our interview series with noteworthy accordion personalities from around the globe.

Few accordionists can cross genres as comfortably as Bradley Jaye Williams. Born in Michigan, Williams moved to the San Francisco Bay Area and then to Austin, where his music career really took off, playing with the likes of Flaco Jimenez and Mingo Saldivar. He currently plays in three bands: an authentic Texas-style conjunto called Conjunto Los Pinkys, a Cajun/Zydeco dance band known as The Gulf Coast Playboys, and The Fabulous Polkasonics, a combo that plays Polish-American “honky style” polkas, waltzes, and obereks.

When and why did you first start playing the accordion?

In 1986, I started playing the 2-row button accordion while living in a tiny studio apartment in Berkeley, California. My neighbors listened to me struggle with “La Cucaracha” and “La Nopalera” for a few months! Why did I start playing? I love accordion music! It was the natural thing to do. It felt right. To me, the accordion was always cool and it’s at the heart of many styles of dance music I love. I grew up in Saginaw, Michigan around all kinds of music… Motown, country, Dixieland, jazz, rock n’ roll and polka music… mainly the Polish-American and German music of Marv Herzog and Lawrence Welk (of course).

Living in the Bay Area in my 20’s, I experienced the music of Flaco Jimenez and it really struck a chord with me. Here was good old polka music being chopped and customized in a new and different way. I loved it. Ultimately, I think I was drawn to the international and cross-cultural appeal of accordion music and polka… the songs, customs, dance, food and pure FUN we all share. Of course, there is also something very compelling about the accordion itself: a magnificent machine…beautifully designed…and a challenge to play.

When did you move to Texas? What inspired you to move?

I moved to Austin, Texas in 1993. My decision to move to Texas was inspired by conjunto music, good friends and cheap tacos. I already knew Flaco, Santiago and Little Joe and I was getting airplay on KEDA Radio Jalapeno 1540 AM in San Antonio with a bilingual song called “El Cool Dude”. On New Years Day in 1992, a friend called me from a San Antonio phone booth, holding the phone next the the car door speaker for me to hear my song blasting over the radio airwaves. Wow! It felt like Texas was where I was supposed to be… I was already playing there! This may sound funny, but in the back of my mind, I also knew I would never go hungry playing music in Texas. I could always buy two tacos for a dollar at The Tamale House, no matter how bad it would get!

I was having difficulties keeping a regular bunch of guys together in the Bay Area. One of the struggles of being a band leader is juggling 4-5 players’ personal/professional schedules to book a gig. I was having a lot of problems finding conjunto people. Good musicians seem to stay busy and double booked! Somewhat frustrated, Texas seemed like a good option for me, with more conjunto musicians and more opportunities for playing and learning the music with seasoned veterans from Austin’s East 6th Street and San Antonio’s West Side scene. I was ready to make a move.

“Texas seemed to be the center of the universe for accordion music… it felt like home.”

Keith Ferguson (original bassist and founding member of The Fabulous Thunderbirds) summed up my situation perfectly. He came up with two brilliant solutions to my musical problem. “Get yourself a monkey and a tin cup OR move to Texas.” He assured me I would not have a problem finding capable, available musicians in the Lone Star State. (I also did not want the responsibility of owning a monkey. Isn’t that illegal?) So, I packed up ALL of my belongings — which consisted of a backpack full of clothes, 2 Gabbanelli accordions and a bajo sexto — and I took the Amtrak train to Austin. I “hit the ground running” and I sat in with Norteo and Conjunto bands after only two days in town. Soon after that, I landed a gig at La Zona Rosa opening for Flaco Jimenez. Texas seemed to be the center of the universe for accordion music, with plenty of Czech, German, Polish, Cajun, Zydeco and Tex-Mex bands and dances everywhere. I was in accordion heaven. It felt like home.

You’ve been fortunate enough to share a bill with some accordion legends — guys like Flaco Jimenez, Mingo Saldivar, as well as your own bandmates Isidro Samilpa and Chencho Flores in Conjunto Los Pinkys. Who have been the biggest influences on your music and, specifically, your accordion playing?

Yes, I have been lucky enough to play along side some of my idols, like Flaco, who occasionally hires me to play bajo sexto with his group which is one of the coolest experiences for me. Playing and singing with Flaco has been a highlight! Great shows with Mingo Saldivar, Los Dos Gilbertos, The Hometown Boys, Angel Flores, and Nick Villareal, too.

Musically, my earliest influences came from Louis Armstrong. I started playing trumpet at 10; I loved Dixieland music as a kid! When it comes to the accordion, there are a few people I really respect and marvel at the way they play the squeezebox. I’m influenced by some of these incredible players. Eddie “Lalo” Torres (Los Pavos Reales), Sandy Sanchez, Oscar Garcia, Joe Martinez, Tony De La Rosa, Ruben Vela, Joel Guzman. Flaco Jimenez, Steve Jordan, Marc Savoy, Aldus Roger, Joe Bonsall, Danny Poullard, Los Tremendos Gavilanes…

For the past 5 years or so, I’ve dedicated a lot of my time to learning and playing the Chemnitzer concertina. I am really influenced by the players from the 50’s and 60’s — Chicago-style Polish-American music like Eddie Zima, Ed Lash, Li’l Wally and Scrubby from the old Dynatones group out of Buffalo.

Of course, over the years I’ve learned an incredible amount from Isidro Samilpa (Conjunto Los Pinkys). I’ve been standing with him onstage for about 15 years now. He’s a solid singer and accordion player and I’m heavily influenced by his playing and style. He has a super laid back style and is one of the best singers around!

Speaking of the Chemnitzer concertina, what inspired you — after already playing in conjunto and Cajun bands — to start a more traditional Polish-style polka band?

Oddly, I was hearing elements of “Polish” music in Tejano and Cajun music already… another spice in the gumbo! For me, stylistically and culturally, it was not a big stretch to start playing Polish music. I had it inside of me already. The “huapango” sounded like an “oberek”. The “tacquachito” beat was similar to the slower “Li’l Wally sound” from Chicago. I heard Cajun “two-steps” with a “push polka” undercurrent.

“I was hearing elements of ‘Polish’ music in Tejano and Cajun music already… another spice in the gumbo!”

Is there a polka gene? If DNA has anything to do with it, my father’s people came down from Nova Scotia and my mom’s parents came from the villages in Poland in the very early 1900’s. They were one of the waves of Polish immigrants who brought the polka music to the United States. Growing up “half-Polish” and in my forties, I actually felt a desire to connect to my Polish heritage by learning the melodies and singing the songs… and struggling to learn the language. My 87 year old mother still speaks Polish and was great help in grammar, pronunciation, etc. I think I was inspired by her and her family, too. She is overjoyed I am taking the effort to embrace my old Polish ancestry… although she’s not really a polka music fan. Ha!

I started playing the concertina just for the fun of it, but I got serious fast and fell under the spell of the Chemnitzer concertina, learning the “Honky-style” music of Eddie Zima, Ampol Aires, Casey Siewierski and Li’l Wally. I was especially inspired by the sound of Zima, and the Li’l Wally “One Man Band” record which became the original blueprint for the band’s sound with only a concertina, drums and singing. Happy music. Li’l Wally sent me all kinds of songbooks, concertina music and LPs, plus stacks of energetic letters and old photos. He was very supportive and I felt like one of the lucky ones out of all the people he corresponded with.

I was lucky to come across some excellent polka musicians here in Central Texas to get a small polka combo off the ground. I happened to find the perfect drummer through the classified ads, first call. At our very first rehearsal, Steve Tounsand showed up at my house with a 50’s Leedy (Chicago) drum kit and left it in my front room for about 6 months. He’s been my drummer ever since. A really big inspiration for me was hooking up with a GREAT clarinet player, Tim Walsh. I happened to meet him through fiddler Ralph White (GCP, Bad Livers). Tim was the original, founding member of Brave Combo. He plays clarinet, soprano and tenor sax with precision and soul. I’ve heard someone say that he has polka in his DNA! Ha! He is an awesome player!

What advice do you have for someone just starting to play the accordion?

After playing accordion for nearly 22 years, I’ve probably made every mistake in the book. Here are some important things I’ve learned along the way.

Choose the right accordion for the music you want to play: diatonic vs. piano accordion. If you want to play traditional Cajun music, you should really be learning on a 10 button, four reed diatonic accordion. Tejano-Norteo players typically use a three-row, two reed, Hohner Corona or a Gabbanelli. Modern Zydeco bands use a 10 button Cajun box, but often it’s played on a piano accordion, too.

There is more “power” in a diatonic accordion. Most of the traditional dance music bands use a button accordion (Cajun, Tejano, Vallenato, Irish, Slovenian, etc.). In my opinion, you can get a stronger attack with a button accordion, more articulation. I think playing a diatonic creates a different kind of sound wave with all the in-and-out push-pull action. It’s built to get people on the dance floor. It does have its limitations; it can be difficult at first to play “chromatically” on a diatonic accordion, but not impossible. You can play all the styles on a piano accordion, but you won’t get the subtle flavor of diatonic accordions.

“In my opinion, you can get a stronger attack with a button accordion, more articulation.”

Also, keep in mind, there are different styles of tuning for the different traditional dance musics. This usually work is done by a technician after you purchase the accordion. For Tejano and Cajun music, the reeds are flattened by a few cents to give it a sweeter, dry sound. This effect can be achieved on a piano accordion via the switches (bandoneon, clarinet, musette, etc.). Tuning is very important and gives you the stylistic voice for the music you are playing.

Playing by ear or reading music? In my experience, most dance music is learned by ear. Some of the best advice I’ve had comes from a couple of Cajun players, Danny Poullard and Marc Savoy. It’s so simple. You need to “know” the tune before you even attempt to play it! You should be able to sing, hum or whistle the tune in your head before you start pushing any buttons. Simple. Play what’s on your mind! I’ve found that slowing down tunes really helps in learning the difficult passages. Use your MP3 player to slow ‘em down!

Accordion players: beware of the evil eye! In a lot of this dance music, the accordion is the center of attention. The accordionist is drawing energy from the crowd and giving it back; you are a magnet for good and bad energy. People are watching you, judging you, they may be jealous or they may have an outpouring of affection for you. Either way, it can mess with you.

I’ve heard a few stories in Texas about accordion players struck with “el ojo”. I actually played a dance with a famous accordion player who claims he was struck down by the evil eye. Passed out on stage; we had to finish the gig for him with his band. He went to the hospital and was later visited by a woman who broke the spell. I’ve heard a similar story about a very young Tejano player who experienced the same kind of thing growing up as a child prodigy, always passing out on stage. When he did, the old ladies would come and lay a hand on his head. It’s a custom I found here in Texas among Chicano and Mexican people, especially when you see a beautiful child with pretty eyes or nice hair you touch their head so you won’t give them the evil eye.

The Italian accordion builders know about it, too. Not to worry, they are looking out for you! One way of protecting yourself is built into your accordion. Those little jewels are there for a reason; not only do they look nice, but they reflect the evil eye back to the person giving it, canceling it out! Some Italian accordions even have a little window built into the accordion where you put a picture of a saint, your mother or a mirror for protection. Believe it or not, it’s interesting accordion folklore.

You can catch two of Bradley’s bands — Conjunto Los Pinkys and the Fabulous Polkasonics — at the on June 21st at the Broken Spoke in Austin. See our calendar for details.

Another Clever Accordion Shirt
Jun., 11, 2008
In honor of Accordion Awareness Month, shirt.woot.com is featuring an accordion t-shirt which reads “Everything’s going accordion to plan!” for $15. From the site:

“Wear this shirt: every day during National Accordion Awareness Month, this June and every June. Don’t wear this shirt: while you’re playing accordion. Then nobody’ll see that hilarious pun.”

Hilarious indeed. Get yours before they’re sold out!

(Thanks for the heads up, Robyn!)

Weird Al and the Roland V-Accordions
Jun., 11, 2008
It’s probably no surprise that Weird Al Yankovic is on the cutting edge of accordion technology and, indeed, Roland has a fun little interview with him about their V-Accordion line of digital accordions. Apparently Al has been an FR-7 user for quite some time and just picked up the smaller, lighter FR-2. In the interview, Al talks about the appeal of a digital accordion versus an acoustic one:

“I really like the idea that it is a direct connection. The accordion is a hard instrument to mic, because if you put an acoustic microphone next to an accordion — especially the left hand — the bellows are always moving. So it’s kind of hard to get an even sound, because the mic is always going to be closer and then further away from the sound source. Internal microphones are also always a problem, because you still get the sound of the bellows. So just the simple fact that there’s a digital solution out there where you get a clean accordion sound is very appealing to me.”

Weird Al will be on tour this summer supporting his latest album, Straight Outta Lynwood; keep an eye on our calendar for dates. (Interview found via Wired).

Running Off With Babylon Circus
Jun., 11, 2008
I always loved the circus growing up, but I’ll tell you — Ringling Brothers had nothing on the high-energy, French ten-piece Babylon Circus. What started as a ska band in 1995 in Lyon has evolved to include reggae, rock, jazz, and numerous other eclectic influences. But with lyrics in French and English — sometimes both in the same song — addressing social and political issues (like the Iraq war), Babylon Circus isn’t pure diversion. It’s music with a message: get out of your seat and take action, whether it’s marching in the streets or jumping on the dance floor.

Their latest record, Dances of Resistance — released in France in 2004, but just making its way here now — continues to mix the political with the carnival, interspersing full-length songs with brief, circus organ-ridden ditties. Described by some as a French Gogol Bordello, the band has a reputation for electric live shows, as shown in this performance of “J’aurais Bien Voulu”:

Los Angeles Accordion Festival
Jun., 11, 2008
Northern California has had its fair share of accordion festivals over the years, so it was only a matter of time before Southern California got into the act. The first Los Angeles Accordion Festival is a three-day event running from May 30th to June 1st at Eagles Hall in Los Angeles.

Designed to showcase some of L.A.’s finest new accordion talent, there’ll be four or five bands performing each night with diverse styles ranging from Irish to Tex-Mex, Cajun to Rockabilly, and nearly everything in-between. On Saturday, May 31st, there’ll also be an accordion workshop on the three-row button accordion led by Otono Lujan of Conjunto Los Pochos, accordion instructor at the Eagle Rock Music Studio. For more information — including a full list of artists performing — check the festival website or the listing on our calendar.

David Vernon @ Stainton Middlesbrough - Frid 2nd May 7.30pm
May, 9, 2008
DAVID VERNON

Concert featuring the Scottish Accordionist
DAVID VERNON
with local group support.


Concert to be held in Stainton Memorial Hall Stainton Village Middlesbrough
 

Concert starts at 7.30pm
Tickets cost £5 and include light refreshments.
 
Tickets available from:Tom Baines (Group Sec) Tel 01642 590781
 
 
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The Accordion Workshop Group will play host to the talented David Vernon - a worldwide entertainer who is expected to attract a large audience. Tickets cost £5 and include light refreshments. For more information contact Tom Baines on Tel: 01642 590781.
Craven Accordion Orchestra in Concert
May, 9, 2008
Craven Accordion Orchestra are playing in Concert at Settle Parish Church on Saturday 12th April 2008 at 7.30pm. The orchestra will be playing a varied programme of music ranging from well classics such as Granada by Lara to the Theme from Titanic My Heart Will Go On.
 
Settle Parish Church provides the ideal venue for the concert for the second year in this idyllic rural town. Adults: £6, Concessions £5. Accompanied Children Free. For more information contact Harry on 01535 635074 or by e-mailing: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
Karen Street - Gig Guide
May, 9, 2008
Karen Street
May 2 Batcombe Jubilee Hall, nr Shepton Mallet 8.00pm 01749 850311 KAREN STREET TRIO (L'ESPIIT DU JAZZ) with Andy Tweed (sax) and Andrew Barrett (guitar) as part of TakeArt Tours May 10 Westonzoyland Community Centre, nr Bridgewater  8.30 01278 691310 - KAREN STREET TRIO (L'ESPIRT DU JAZZ) with Andy Tweed (sax) and Andrew Barrett (guitar) as part of Take Art Tours May 16 St Clement Dane's Church, The Strand 2.30pm LONDON CONTEMPORARY CHURCH MUSIC FESTIVAL performance of newly arranged hymns for jazz quartetand childrens choir . St Clement Danes C of E school choir plus London College of music Chamber Choir, with KarenStreet (accordion) Paul Clarvis (percussion)Mark Hodgson (bass)John Paricelli - http://www.st-clement-danes.co.uk/frame1.html June 15 Meeting House Arts Centre., Illminster  The Meeting House Arts Centre  East Street, Ilminster, SomersetTA19 0AN8.00pm 01460 55783 KAREN STREET TRIO (L'ESPIRT DU JAZZ) with Andy Tweed (sax) and Andrew Barrett (guitar) as part of Take Art Tours July 10 Frome Festival, Frome Somerset 7.30pm KAREN STREET with FRED BAKER (Guitar) and ANDY TWEEN (percussion) 
(ESPIRIT DU JAZZ) 
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Paste Promotes the Accordion Revolution
May, 9, 2008
Not sure how I missed this, but the April issue of Paste Magazine has a couple features on the accordion. The first, “Squeezebox Redux: The World’s Dorkiest Instrument Earns Hipster Cred”, notes the accordion’s recent rise to prominence in the indie rock world. One label head suggests that “the more bands that use accordions, the more [new] bands will be inspired to try it themselves.” DeVotchKa’s Tom Hagerman also has a good quote:“The accordion can quickly color a piece of music into a much darker or even grotesque sort of tune… I think in pop music it tends to make things sound a little anachronistic, in a good way.”Paste also published their “Ultimate Accordion Playlist”. The list is, again, indie rock-centric, and features a number of the bands we’ve covered here (They Might Be Giants, the Decemberists, Gogol Bordello, Arcade Fire, etc.). Any notable omissions?
Kimmo Pohjonen is One Crazy Dude
May, 9, 2008
As someone who comes from a long line of farmers, I’m no stranger to tractors and farm equipment. But I never thought of using their sounds in music, which is why I’m not a famous avant-garde musician like Finnish accordionist Kimmo Pohjonen. He toured four UK farms and recorded the sounds of tractors, milking machines, threshers, and more, so he could tweak, loop, and sample them with his MIDI accordion for his project, “Earth Machine Music.”“When you amplify and equalise those sounds, and you have a great PA, you can suddenly hear music and rhythms. I’m sure people who come to the concerts will be surprised at what great sounds they have. These are kind of forgotten sounds. Everybody knows them, and everybody knows accordion sounds, too - but not like this.”Next month, Pohjonen will revisit those farms for a series of concerts in which he’ll perform new music he has composed specifically for each venue. Local farmers will even “play along” with Pohjonen, firing up their tractors and machinery during the performance. There’s even a documentary film in the works. I wonder if it will spawn a whole new genre of agricultural accordionists…Update: I found a YouTube clip of Pohjonen discussing the project, as well as a piece in the Telegraph.
A Mad and Faithful DeVotchKa
May, 9, 2008
Of all the bands I’ve discovered while writing for Let’s Polka, DeVotchKa is quite possibly my favorite. We saw them at a club in San Francisco a couple years ago and were blown away — their unique brand of gypsy-mariachi rock was infectious and it’s hard to dislike any band that sports an accordionist/violinist, a drummer/trumpet player, a tuba player, and a wine-swigging lead singer. Two years later, after making a splash with their soundtrack to the Oscar-nominated Little Miss Sunshine, DeVotchKa does not disappoint with their new album, A Mad and Faithful Telling.It’s easy to get caught up in the novelty of DeVotchKa’s sound — the cinematic swells, the mariachi horns, the tinkling glockenspiels — but don’t overlook the rich songs bubbling under that melting pot’s surface. “Transliterator” balances frenzy and restraint beautifully, the shuffling “Head Honcho” carries you away, and “Undone” is just achingly stunning.We loved accordionist Tom Hagerman’s recent solo album, The Breakfast Playground, and — from his fierce violin on “Comrade Z” to his playful accordion on “Strizzalo” — he plays a huge role on this record. Other bands have helped put the accordion on the indie rock map in recent years, but few carry it as naturally or as well as DeVotchKa.Devotchka: Head Honchomp3
Baile de Zacatecas en Chicago 5-17-08
May, 9, 2008
vamos a tocar el Sabado 17 de Mayo en el Major Hall (Major y Grand Ave) en Chicago de 8PM a 1AM, parece que los boletos cuestan $20 en la puerta
plomito



Platinum Member
Registered: 09/01/06
Posts: 504
HOUSTON, TX: INVICTO - SAT MAY 10TH
May, 9, 2008
JOIN US IN SUPPORTINGCONJUNTO MUSIC IN HOUSTON 
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Marivel Mercado
UrbanCowgirl



Registered: 08/02/05
Posts: 22 05/06/08 at 09:04 AM #2 SAT MAY 24TH...


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gilbertg



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Registered: 01/10/07
Posts: 182 05/06/08 at 02:12 PM #3 cowgirl    wish  I  could  be  there   but  I`ll  be  in  SAN  ANTONIO  (   T.C.F. )
but  maybe  the  following  week  . I   never  been  to  J.R`S.


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POLKA DAWGS CONJUNTO CLUB DE H-TOWN
VelizR

Registered: 11/30/07
Posts: 61
41 FESTIVAL VALLENATO 2008
May, 9, 2008
DEL 30 DE ABRIL AL 4 DE MAYO DE 2008
VALLEDUPAR, COLOMBIA
ElTigre



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Registered: 04/29/06
Posts: 1,157
Los Monarcas- Houston April 19
May, 9, 2008
Mak's Ice House
McKinney @ Cullen
Houston
713-227-5405

Saturday April 19 8PM
Los Monarcas de Pete y Mario Diaz



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petediaz

Registered: 11/27/06
Posts: 9
Ollie Collins - Accordionist Entertainer!
Apr., 20, 2008
Ollie Collins Giggleswick School boy Oliver Collins has been entertaining pupils, staff and parents with his Accordion playing. Oliver has recently competed in the Schools’ ‘Young Musician of the Year’ competition where he succeeded in being the first Accordion player to take part in this annual competition. More recently he performed at Giggleswick’s School Chapel for the end of term Easter Service. Olivers teacher, Harry Hinchcliffe is delighted that Oliver is receiving fantastic support, opportunity and recognition for all his hard work and practice.
"Beecham Boys" Charity "213 Mile Bike Ride" gains momentum & support as target is doubled !
Apr., 20, 2008
Ron Beecham - 1936 - 2006Craig and Lloyd Beecham are riding their bikes from London to Paris in the Summer of 2008.The plan is to raise at least £5,000 for the "Everyman Cancer Research Campaign" , in memory of their father Ron Beecham, who sadly passed away in 2006 from cancer. They both miss their dad a great deal, and feel that this is a good way to remember a lovely man, and also to raise money for a worthy cause.  
Bike Ride News Update: March 2008 Between us, we needed to raise £2200 to be able to take part in this challenge. We thought that we would set ourselves the target of £2500 as a very challenging target. We never expected to reach this amount of money in such a short space of time. So, we have decided to try and be very greedy and go for £5000. We know this is a huge amount of money and that we may not make it that far, but it would be an amazing achievement to raise that much money for such a worthy cause.Another huge thank you for all of the sponsorship that we have received so far. The generosity that everyone has demonstrated in giving to the everyman campaign in memory of our Dad is really quite humbling. That, along with the messages left on this site make us both realise what a special man our Dad was, and how he touched the lives of so many people. In terms of training, Lloyd has been having problems with the clip in shoes and pedals that he has purchased. Unfortunately, he is sometimes unable to unclip the correct foot in time, and falls over. He is comfortably above 30 miles in his longest stints, and is now concentrating on hill work in preparation for the longer inclines. He is planning to hit 50 miles next month. Craig has ridden from Reading to Oxford for work (about 30 miles) , but then found himself a bit tired and unable to concentrate properly. The plan by May is to be able to ride home again at the end of the day. Training has focused on developing speed endurance and trying to get average speeds up towards 15 miles an hour..............  Craig & Lloyd Beecham 
Fundraising target: £5,000.00Donations to date: £4,011.48
Celebrating Keith Rogers - His Music - His Instruments - Himself - Sat 19th April @ 7pm
Apr., 20, 2008
Some of you will know that my cousin, Keith Rogers, died earlier this year of pancreatic cancer.  He was a maker of early musical instruments - recorders, serpents, cornetts, oboes d'amore, etc, etc.  The family is arranging a concert to celebrate his life and achievements including music played on instruments he made.  It will include both the biggest and the smallest Serpents in the world.  If you don't know what a Serpent is, the invitation shows him grappling with a medium-sized one (it's made of wood, the two halves channelled out and glued together then covered with a tightly-fitting leather sleeve to hold it all together!)

The concert will be in St Michael and All Angels Church, 1 Pond Road, Blackheath Park, London SE3 9JL, Saturday 19th April '08 at 7.00pm.  I'm told it's a big church, so anyone interested is welcome - no need to have known him - so feel free to circulate this invitation to musical friends.  

We are promised a mixture of music, some he composed, some he loved (no doubt with an early-music bias in view of the instruments).  It should be an unusual chance to see all these ancient instruments, and I'm sure the quality of the music-making will be high (judging from performances at a recent family wedding and Keith's funeral).  The concert is free, with a collection for the Royal Society of Musicians of Great Britain. 

Hope to see some of you there!

Best wishes,  Neil Sanders - This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it





 

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Groanbox Boys - UK Tour - Gig Guide
Apr., 20, 2008
The Groanbox Boys will soon be touring the UK again!
The Groanbox Boys are the NY/London-based music duo, Cory Seznec and Michael Ward-Bergeman. The two play a highly unique blend of what they call Old Time Mountain Gypsy World Folk Blues Music on accordion, acoustic guitar, banjo, harmonica and odd pieces of percussion, including their self-made "Freedom Boot".
Spring 2008 UK TourMay 2 Man of Kent Rochester, KentMay 3 Sweeps Festival - The Crown Rochester, KentMay 4 Sweeps Festival - Rochester Castle Gardens Concert Marquee with Truckstop Honeymoon Rochester, Kent 2:30 pm startMay 5 Sweeps Festival - Two Brewers Rochester, Kent 12:30 pm startMay 6 The Crooked Billet Henley on Thames, OxfordshireMay 7 Wrotham Arms Broadstairs, KentMay 8 The Royal National Theatre - Music in the Foyer South Bank, London 6:15 pm startMay 9 The Royal Albert Hall - Ignite! Series Kensington, London 12 pm startMay 10 Green Note Camden, LondonMay 11 The Bell Inn Bath, Somerset 1 pm startMay 11 The Royal Portland Arms Portland, Dorset 7 pm startMay 12 The Boot Inn Weymouth, DorsetMay 13 Bom-Bane's BrightonMay 14 Carlyon Arms St Austell, CornwallMay 15 BBC Radio Swindon/Wiltshire The Mark Seaman Show aired on May 18 at 3 pmMay 15 The Beehive Swindon, WiltshireMay 16 The Old Courthouse (In the Dock) Thirsk, North YorkshireMay 17 Bogbain Farm Inshes, Inverness, ScotlandMay 18 Tin Hut, Aberdeenshire, ScotlandMay 19 Inn at Lathones, Largoward, St. Andrews, Fife, Scotland Gig infoMay 20 The Old Libary Kilbarchan, Renfrewshire, ScotlandMay 21 The Coach House Killin, Perthshire, ScotlandMay 22 Acoustic Music Club Kirkcaldy, Fife, ScotlandMay 23 Greenock Wanderers RFC Club Greenock, Inverclyde, ScotlandMay 24 Selby Town Hall Selby, North YorkshireMay 25 The Tall Ship, Glasgow, ScotlandMay 28 Tolbooth Stirling, ScotlandMay 29 Leith Folk Club at the Village Edinburgh, ScotlandMay 31 String Jam Club Galashiels, Scottish BordersJune 1 City Blues Weekender Festival Leicester 1 pm startJune 7 The Met Arts Centre Bury, LancashireFall 2008 UK TourAugust 27 Blues Cafe Bar Harrogate, North YorkshireAugust 28 Gala Theatre DurhamAugust 30 Burnham On Sea Folk Festival Burnham on Sea, SomersetSeptember 3 Carlyon Arms St Austell, CornwallSeptember 5 Private Concert, Ampleforth, YorkshireSeptember 6 House Concert at Spelman's YorkSeptember 12 The Antic Banquet Festival, DevonSeptember 13 The Square and Compass Worth Matravers, Swanage, DorsetSeptember 14 The Grey Horse Kingston, SurreySeptember 16 Dartford Folk Club Dartford, KentSeptember 17 Royal Brompton Hospital Chelsea, London 12 pm startSeptember 18 Harefield Hospital Harefield, Middlesex 12 pm startSeptember 19 Brook's Blues Bar at the Telegraph, Putney Heath, LondonSeptember 28 The Rose and Crown Charlbury, OxfordshireOctober 1 Burnett's Chapel Narberth, WalesOctober 2 Beaford Arts North DevonOctober 3 Beaford Arts North DevonOctober 4 Beaford Arts North DevonOctober 8 Traveller's Rest Draycott, Darby, DarbyshireOctober 9 The Musician LeicesterOctober 10 Blues in the Schools Keighley, YorkshireOctober 10 Bronte Blues Club Keighley, YorkshireOctober 11 Green Note Camden, London
 
 
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Preview Video of "Pennies from Heaven" - featuring accordionist Romano Viazzani - April 18th & 19th!
Apr., 20, 2008
COMING SOON! On April 18 and 19, 2008, The St. Albans Organ Theatre, in St. Albans, Herts, U.K., is pleased to present "Pennies From Heaven, The Life & Songs of Arthur Tracy, 'The Street Singer.'" The biographical and musical show will be performed by international cabaret star, Steve Ross, and popular New York baritone, Gregory Moore, who is also the author and director. The show was premiered at New York's Lincoln Center Library for the Performing Arts in 2005, to commemorate the generous donation of Tracy materials made to the Library by his family. Tracy, who emigrated to America from Russia, died in 1997 at age 98. Noted New York television host (and friend of Arthur Tracy's), Joe Franklin, acclaimed "Pennies From Heaven" as "...the best show I saw all year...I can't recall the last time I saw such a heartfelt standing ovation!" In February of 2007, Messrs. Ross and Moore (along with London accordion virtuoso, Romano Viazzani) brought their show to London's Jermyn Street Theatre for one memorable, sold-out performance, precipitating their return engagement in October of 2007. One of the most popular American performers in the UK in the years just before World War II, Arthur "The Street Singer" Tracy (1899-1997) is unjustly "under-remembered" today. But in his day, his full-voiced renditions of the great songs of that era were wildly popular with British and American audiences alike. In the words of Michael Darvell, of the classicalsource.com, "[Steve] Ross' narration punctuates the music with memories and tales of the life of Arthur Tracy, a Ukrainian born, naturalised American who was given his western name when he passed through Ellis Island with his family aged seven, into the American dream. Ross brings his natural wit to the fore as he leads his audience through the evening, keeping the performance alive with Tracy's music, heavy on thirties romance and now steeped in nostalgia. Throughout the evening Viazzani's entrancing accordion adds a continental flavour to the music, setting the tone by opening with the emotive gypsy melody "Marta, Rambling Rose of the Wildwood." Moore takes the role of Arthur Tracy's stage persona "The Street Singer" and shares the vocals with Ross, looking every inch as though he's stepped through sixty years into this charming setting, where he beguiles and enchants."
Pennies From Heaven
 St. Albans Organ Theatre - 320 Camp Road - St.Albans AL1 5PE
Friday April 18th @ 7.30 pm
Saturday April 19th @  2.30 & 7.30 pm
Three shows of 'PENNIES FROM HEAVEN'
 The Life and Songs of Arthur Tracy - 'The Street Singer'
Performed by STEVE ROSS - American Cabaret Artist (Storyteller);
 GREG MOORE - American Opera Singer (Arthur Tracy)
& ROMANO VIAZZANI - Piano Accordionist.

Tickets £ 8.00 
 Available only from RON HARTWELL
Tel: 01494-786738
 
 
 
An Evening in the Company of 'The Street Singer'
With Music That Defined Romance
 " From Geoff Ambler's review at Reviewsgate.com"
 
Steve Ross, last in Jermyn Street performing a salute to Stephen Sondheim, is now accompanied by virtuoso accordionist Romano Viazzani and Gregory Moore for a fascinating journey into an era of musical history when “The Street Singer” topped the Palladium’s pre-war billing and starred alongside Bing Crosby in Hollywood, a time remembered in black and white and filled with music that will never be forgotten.

Ross’ narration punctuates the music with memories and tales of the life of Arthur Tracy, a Ukranian born, naturalised American who was given his western name when he passed through Ellis Island with his family aged seven, into the American dream. Ross brings his natural wit to the fore as he leads his audience through the evening, keeping the performance alive with Tracy’s music, heavy on thirties romance and now steeped in nostalgia.

Throughout the evening Viazzani’s entrancing accordion adds a continental flavour to the music, setting the tone by opening with the emotive gypsy melody “Marta, Rambling Rose of the Wildwood”. Moore takes the role of Arthur Tracy’s stage persona “The Street Singer” and shares the vocals with Ross, looking every inch as though he’s stepped through sixty years into this charming setting, where he beguiles and enchants.

An extensive song list, including “East of the Sun, West of the Moon”, propels you straight into the thirties, the melancholy “Danny Boy”, a delightful “The Way You Look Tonight” and “A Foggy Day” evoking a London otherwise known only through monochrome Saturday afternoon movies. Tracy sings of love that is never cynical, and never clouded by realism - something long banished from modern life.

Gregory Moore's tribute closes with the two most famous melodies “When You Wish Upon A Star”, adopted by Disney, and “Pennies From Heaven”, which drew Tracy back into the limelight in the eighties via a Steve Martin movie, giving his music a last chance to shine, fifty years on in a century that had forgotten how much it had benefited from his life, his music and spirit - things these three masters in Jermyn Street have now re-ignited.

Narrator/ Piano/Vocals: Steve Ross.
The Street Singer: Gregory Moore.
Accordion: Roman Viazzani.

Director: Gregory Moore.
 
WEBSITE LINKS:
 
 
 
Arthur Tracy - The Street Singer
 
 
One of the most popular American performers in the UK in the years just before World War II, Arthur "The Street Singer" Tracy (1899-1997) is  unjustly "under-remembered" today.  But in his day, his full-voiced renditions of the great songs of that era were wildly popular with British and American audiences alike.
 
In 2005, Arthur Tracy's family commissioned a tribute to him, upon the occasion of their donation of Arthur's personal papers and effects to the Lincoln Center Library for the Performing Arts (New York).  International cabaret star, Steve Ross, and popular New York baritone, Gregory Moore, created the show Pennies From Heaven:  The Life and Songs of Arthur Tracy, 'The Street Singer'.  The show was much acclaimed by the capacity audience at Lincoln Center.  Noted New York television host (and friend of Arthur Tracy's), Joe Franklin, acclaimed it as "...the best show I saw all year...I can't recall the last time I saw such a heartfelt standing ovation!"  In February of 2007, Messrs. Ross and Moore (along with London accordion virtuoso, Romano Viazzani) brought their show to London's Jermyn Street Theatre for one memorable, sold-out performance, precipitating their return engagement in October of 2007 (see reviews, below).  The beautiful and utterly unique St. Albans Organ Theatre is pleased to present the return to the U.K. of Pennies From Heaven on 18th and 19th, April, 2008.  With their world-class collection of antique mechanical musical instruments and wonderfully nostalgic atmosphere, The St. Albans Organ Theatre should prove the perfect setting for this musical bit of "time travel," as the clock is rolled backward and we revisit the glorious songs and wonderful life of "The Street Singer".
 
 
Tickets may be purchased in advance from Ron Hartwell. 
Please send a stamped, addressed envelope to: 
16, Ridgeway Road, Chesham, Bucks. HP5 2EG.
 
 For reservations please call Ron Hartwell on 01484 786738
 
 
 
 
 
REVIEWS from the Jermyn St. Theatre performances of
"Pennies From Heaven" - October 2007.
 
From Paul Vale's review from THE STAGE, London, U.K.
Arthur Tracy achieved huge popular acclaim in the early thirties as the Street Singer, a mysterious vocalist of indeterminate origin who wandered the CBS airwaves.With a strong classical training, his forte was the sentimental ballads such as Danny Boy, Just a Gigolo and the number that became his theme tune, Marta, Rambling Rose of the Wildwood.Tracy moved to the UK and was an instant hit on these shores recording such classics as Cocktails for Two, Keep the Homefires Burning, If You Were the Only Girl in The World and the immensely popular Pennies From Heaven.Providing the musical accompaniment and narrative for the evening is internationally acclaimed cabaret performer Steve Ross. Ross makes an engaging and entertaining storyteller, particularly describing the moment when he finally met Tracy in the early eighties. But it is through the piano his fondness for the Street Singer shines through and at a emotional level, September Song struck a deeply poignant chord for a worldwide legend who is now largely forgotten. This evident affection for Tracy is matched only by singer Gregory Moore whose voice has a distinctive timbre that lends itself perfectly to this style, with particular highlights being The Way You Look Tonight and the Kern/Hammerstein classic, Ol’ Man River. Complimenting this duo is virtuoso accordionist Romano Viazzani. Although often portrayed as a skilled accordionist himself, Tracy never actually learned to play one.
 
From Michael Darvell's review at Theclassicalsource.com                       
Ten years ago this week the singer Arthur Tracy (aka “The Street Singer”) died in New York aged 98. He had come a long way in nearly a full century. Born Abba Avron Tracovutsky in the Ukraine, he emigrated to the US at age six with his family who settled in Philadelphia. After graduating in 1917 he studied to be an architect but soon left to take up singing. Moving to New York he appeared in vaudeville and was seen by a talent-scout and given a radio programme. He assumed his sobriquet of “The Street Singer” to avoid embarrassing his family. By the early-thirties he had appeared in a film with Bing Crosby, “The Big Broadcast of 1932”, and went on to make five more. He became a phenomenally successful singer in concerts and on record, selling some six million discs and just as many copies of the sheet music of his songs. He was a ‘bari-tenor’ who specialised in performing a repertoire of popular love songs and ballads of the day, material that would now be considered cheesy. But in 1930s’ America and for five years in Great Britain where he topped the bill at the London Palladium, these were the songs that audiences loved to hear.
His signature song was ‘Marta, rambling rose of the wildwood’ which he sang as he stepped on to the stage, as “The Street Singer” seemingly playing the accordion, an instrument which Tracy never actually learned to play. His material was unashamedly romantic but he sang some of the best popular songs ever written, from Romberg and Hammerstein’s ‘One alone’ and ‘Softly, as in a morning sunrise’ to Duke Ellington’s ‘Solitude’ through the Gershwins, Harry Warren and Al Dubin, Jerome Kern, Dorothy Fields and Otto Harbach to Noel Coward and Kurt Weill. He sang the material in a strong, earnest voice that was obviously very appealing to a lot of people.
Performing the songs here are writer and director Gregory Moore, an opera singer now concentrating on cabaret and concert work. He has a stentorian voice, much like Tracy and he puts across the material with warmth and feeling for the sentiments expressed in these numbers. He shares the singing with pianist and vocalist Steve Ross, an old hand at this sort of material. Far from being “The Street Singer” Steve Ross is more the sleek or chic singer and he puts a different spin on the numbers that is his familiar trademark. The accordion accompaniment by Romano Viazzani provides a neat background to the period in this most charming and civilised of entertainments. It’s not often you have the chance to enjoy these sorts of songs and here they are presented with passion and delight.
Tracy’s main period of popularity was during the 1930s and ’40s but, when Swing came in, his sort of songs went out of fashion. He toured here and in the US but eventually the work dried up and he made his money out of ‘real estate’ instead. However, many years later his 1937 recording of ‘Pennies from heaven’ was used in the 1981 US film of the same name (based on the Dennis Potter play) with Steve Martin and suddenly audiences wanted to know him again. The following year he appeared in cabaret in New York where Steve Ross saw him. Later on Tracy appeared in a Broadway show, “Social security”, and had a bit part in the film “Crossing Delancey”. When Tracy’s papers were filed at Lincoln Center, Ross was asked if there was a show in his story. The result is two hours of very best kind of musical nostalgia.
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